Sources: Budweiser to sponsor Kahne in '08

Updated: September 14, 2007, 9:02 AM ET
By Terry Blount and David Newton | ESPN.com

As expected, Budweiser will become the primary sponsor for Kasey Kahne and the No. 9 Dodge in 2008, sources confirmed Thursday.

Gillett Evernham Motorsports officials will make the announcement Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET at team headquarters in Statesville, N.C.

Mike Accavitti, the director of Dodge Brand and SRT Marketing, did not confirm the move to Budweiser. But he did confirm that the Dodge logo will not be on the hood of Kahne's car.

"During the past seven years, the Dodge family has grown to multiple teams with multi-car operations. That's created new opportunities and challenges for Dodge as we focus on the future and our goal of winning races and competing for the championship in NASCAR's premier series.

"Additional sponsorship support of the No. 9 Dodge Avenger, driven by Kasey Kahne, in 2008 gives Dodge the opportunity to redirect valuable resources toward the challenges facing all our teams. We welcome the new partnership and look forward to working with Gillett Evernham Motorsports toward the goal we share with all teams in the Dodge family, the Nextel Cup."

Accavitti said the move does not change Dodge's commitment to the series.

"We now have the opportunity to apply additional resources to areas that can directly impact the on-track performance of all our teams and expand marketing opportunities for our dealers."

Team owners George Gillett, Ray Evernham and Kahne will attend the news conference, along with Budweiser officials.

The deal for Budweiser to sponsor Kahne has been in the works for more than two months. GEM officials first had to make sure Dodge representatives were OK with the change. The Dodge dealers sponsor two GEM cars -- Kahne and the No. 19 driven by Elliott Sadler.

Finalizing the deal with Budweiser also took longer than expected because all the parties had to agree on the percentages for licensing revenues.

Kahne has personal sponsorship agreements with Allstate Insurance and the Vitamin Water energy drink. It's not known if the new multiyear association with Budweiser will affect either of those deals.

Budweiser has been the primary sponsor for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 8 Chevrolet at Dale Earnhardt Inc. since 2000, his rookie season in Nextel Cup. But Earnhardt announced earlier this year that he would have new sponsors for his first season at Hendrick Motorsports in 2008.

Hendrick officials and Earnhardt are holding a news conference Wednesday in Dallas to announce his new sponsors and his new car number.

Terry Blount and David Newton are contributors to ESPN's NASCAR coverage.

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter